Alumni Spotlight: Kim Fernandes (Class of 2011)

1. What are you doing now?

I just began a doctoral program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

2. If working, where are you working and what is your job title? Location? (e.g. city if not in Doha)

Last year, I worked at the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, in Delhi, as a consultant on monitoring and evaluation for a rural vocational skills program. Prior to that, I worked as a field research assistant with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in eastern India on an early childhood development randomized control trial. Right after finishing at Georgetown in 2011, I spent two years teaching at a government school in Mumbai with Teach For India.

3. If in graduate school, what degree are you working on? School? Location?

I am interested in studying early childhood education in developing countries, particularly those in South Asia and Southern and East Africa.

4. If you’ve already earned a graduate or professional degree, what did you study? School? Location?

I earned my Masters in International Education Policy from Harvard's Graduate School of Education in 2014.

5. How long did it take you to find your first paid job? Where was it? How did you stay motivated?

I worked part-time as a student all through my time at GU-Q, but found my first paid job right after graduation with Teach For India in Mumbai. It was hard to be teaching full-time in a context where very much of what I encountered each day was unfamiliar, but there is/was nothing I wanted more than to be a teacher. My students were also incredible about reminding me why being able to teach and to learn is such a privilege, and that kept me motivated on really difficult days.

6. Looking back, what were some of your “takeaways” from your GU-Q experience?

One of my biggest takeaways from my time at Georgetown was the power of community, both with my peers and with faculty. The size of the school is a blessing in that there are many available resources and opportunities to be a part of a variety of interesting things, and looking back, those were easily four of the most incredible years I've had in school. Part of the reason why I went into teaching was because I had so many fantastic professors and mentors at Georgetown.

7. What advice would you give to current undergraduates who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Do whatever you're interested in, even if it doesn't sound like the right job title or isn't in a convenient location, because it's always worth being able to pursue your dreams to find out what interests you.

8. What are some of your proudest achievements so far?  Future plans?

Some of my proudest achievements so far have been moments in the classroom where I was challenged by my students to see—and was able to see—that learning is more than grades or time spent on tasks. In the future, I hope to work for an international organization or as a consultant to a government on early childhood program development and evaluation, and to be teaching at a university.